OK, things in America are a bit off these days- pandemics, protests, riots, political unrest… I think we can all agree this is true without getting into the specifics or politics, and we won’t. Let’s just all agree these are uneasy times and keep our opinions about the reasons to ourselves.
Typically in recent years I have carried a revolver. It was consistent with the threat (extremely unlikely and limited.) I pretty much figured the most likely threats I would face could be dealt with in 5-6 shots.
Small revolver in a pocket holster around the house and shop, a K-frame for general purposes. Sometimes a Detonics Mk.1 Combat Master .45, less because i felt the need of a little extra firepower than that I love it, shoot it well and the manual-of-arms is pretty much hard-wired at this point. But the K-frame was the champ, if for no other reason that it’s curves didn’t print as conspicuously as the little .45.
I love double action revolvers, and for normal circumstances their limitations, 6-shots and a relatively slow reload, seemed adequate to face probable threats. Formerly around home I’d drop my little top-break snubby in a back pocket and forget about it. In the vanishingly unlikely event that I needed a gun it would probably do, at least long enough to get me to something better. Going out and about I’d strap on the ‘Old Dog’ and grab a couple speed loaders.
Last summer I carried my custom Taurus M85 .38. About the same size as the .38 DA, but capable of using considerably more potent rounds. It also has a Cerakote finish that would tolerate being sweated on better than the old S&W. A great ‘around the house’ gun, but as times have changed I have been less comfortable with it when out and about.
Then Linda got me a very nice birthday present, a Seecmp LWS32. Ultra-small, stainless construction and at least notably more capable than a .25 auto. Not as capable as the .38 DA, but much more concealable. It’s been occupying my pocket pretty much any time between rising and going to bed ever since. Not an EDC for general carry, but the very definition of EDC. Hell, I can drop it in my pajama pocket and forget it’s there.
I’ve not been a ‘two-gun guy’ since I quit being a cop, but nowadays I often am because of the little Seecamp. Whatever else if going on it’s always there, even when I strap on a more suitable EDC gun.
Current events have altered my opinion about EDC guns, however. Fortunately as much as I love revolvers I also love semi-autos. I also find them better suited to a ‘heightened threat’ environment, as the police and military have acknowledged for decades. More shots, faster reloads, and reloads that are easier to conceal. Yes, conceal. Not big on open-carry; it alarms the general public where I live, enhances the opportunity to disarm me and announces to the baddies that they need to shoot me first. You may feel differently, and that’s fine, but I’m talking about my preferences because they affect my choices.
The Detonics .45 offers many of the advantages in terms of reloads etc., but after years of carrying revolvers I am less comfortable with a ‘cocked-and-locked’ single action that I once was. I’m surprised by this, but these days i prefer a double-action auto.
Then, for largely sentimental reasons, Linda got me another present, a Sig Sauer P6. This is a single-stock, compact 9mm that takes an 8-round magazine. The 8+1 capacity is a definite step up from the Old Dog’s six shots, or even the 6+1 capacity of the Detonics. More care needs to be taken with concealment, but with cooler weather arriving this isn’t a big deal. Yes,a more modern gun would offer significantly more shots and/or better concealability, but i have this one and I am extremely comfortable with it’s ergonomics and operation.
I’m very comfortable with this gun, and it’s ergonomics work exceptionally well for me. Unlike many guns my trigger finger slides naturally from the frame above the trigger guard to the trigger. The relatively heavy weight (compared to modern sub-compacts) is mitigated by the use of a proper gun-belt and a good holster. Low capacity is less an issue because I can reload quite fast. I’m old and fat, and frankly if I need more than two reloads I’m unlikely to live long enough to use them.
So, EDC these days is the Seecamp in a pocket, and the P6 in it’s holster with a reload on the off-side (i haven’t quite gotten around to making a two-mag carried for it yet, but I will.) Am I safer? Perhaps. Do I feel a wee bit more secure? Definitely.
Enhanced Threat Environment
So how big is the anticipated threat level? Do I really think it’s more likely that I’ll need to resort to armed self defense?
In a word- no. Or not significantly more likely, anyway. In the U.S. about three hundred people kill another person with a gun in self defense each year. Given estimates of the number of people in the country that legally have firearms this means your odds of winning the lottery are roughly comparable to the chance that you’ll kill someone defending a life, either yours or someone else’s. Mind you, that’s the odds that you’ll kill someone; most self-defense shootings involve a handgun, and most people shot with handguns don’t die. It is also widely believed that in the vast majority of incidents where a firearm is deployed for the purpose of self-defense no shots are fired. Exact data on this is not available, so we have no good handle on exactly how often this happens. It is believed that the large majority of such incidents are not reported.
In a nutshell my odds of needing to shoot in self-defense could double and they would still be vanishingly small. I don’t think the odds have doubled. I expect it’s still extremely unlikely that I will need to fire in self-defense. But the nature of the threat can change without a significant change in probability of such an event occurring.
In the current climate I think that if I am involved in a lethal force encounter it is significantly more likely I’ll face multiple opponents, in which case more shots and frankly a more visually threatening firearm, will be an asset. It’s also not a ‘happy coincidence’ that I put together a 9mm AR this year.
Whichever side of the political divide you fall on it seems likely that we’re in for a rough ride the next few months. Exercise good sense, be prepared and don’t psyche yourself into over-reacting. Keep your wits about you, keep one eye open and, for the love of God don’t look for trouble.
I had to get to it eventually, and it’s this- situational awareness is not part time, and includes more than your immediate surroundings in the moment. Be aware of the larger picture too; your neighborhood, county, state and country. Gather enough information to have a realistic assessment of the threat level and parameters, and adjust accordingly.
*Please refrain from political commentary in the comments. I’ve tried to keep this a place where we can come together over our common interest, not be divided by our differences, and I implore you to respect that.
Michael Tinker Pearce, 20 September 2020
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As usual, you write an excellent piece of wordsmith. I may think that because most of what you say aligns with much of my own thoughts. But also as usual, I like to toss in my own two cents. In my humble (or maybe not so humble, being pretty opinionated) opinion, you’ve missed a real danger and reason for personal defense in an urban environment. I think you characterize prioritize the human threat very well. You did not mention a high likelihood of an attack by a domestic pet. It’s been my arguement for a number of years for those who berate my belief in concealed carry for personal protection. To the person who tells me I’m foolish and paranoid I always ask,
“So what are you going to do to stop a couple of on the loose Rotts (Dobie, Shepard, Pitts, etc.) from ripping apart a 10 year old little girl right in front of you? Or maybe an elderly person (as I’m getting to be), or yourself? How would you feel if your only option is to watch? Do you really think you could live with yourself after that?”
It’s always been an effective arguement. The fact the danger of an attack like that is real, and people recognize it’s real…and of a higher probability than an attack by humans.
Anyways, just my two cents. Please keep up your blog posts, I do get a great deal of pleasure reading them.
Excellent observation, Bruce, and thanks for bringing it up! Having a dog in the neighborhood that I’ve been worried I might have to shoot it’s a point well taken. I did speak with the owner, and expressed my concern that I might have to shoot her dog, and told her I did not want that to come up. She’s been muzzling the dog when it is on it’s zip-line, and doing remedial training with good effect. Always a preferable solution, but not always a possible solution, sadly.
I’ve found that despite the perceived increase in threat level I’ve had to downsize in order to make my EDC truly an “everyday” thing. To that end I assembled a Glock 43 up from a bare factory frame. Being a 1911 guy I hated Glocks from the gitgo but the aftermarket and an open mind changed things. The aftermarket sights, trigger and MagGuts +2 mod is light and slips in my pocket easy enough in warmer weather when I don’t want to dress for concealment. In cooler weather I go back to an old favorite, an alloy framed Para P12 loaded with aluminum cased 185grJHP’s. It certainly mitigates the weight issue.